Saturday, November 13, 2010

What to do for Eid?

Seriously, I'm so sick and tired of people here whinging and complaining about the "lack of official days holiday" for Eid. Honestly, the last 6 months of the year here is a cake walk - so many days off and lower productivity expected throughout Ramadhan, you would think people would focus on counting their blessings as opposed to feeling ripped off. *breathe* and I digress...

I for one am thankful for the handful of days we have off in a row this week, as well as the fact that we still have National Day holiday(s) to come and Islamic New Years.

So in typical Omani conversational style "What to do" people?
With the weather as awesome as it is (how can you NOT like 25-30 degree days in WINTER?) there are endless options:

* Camping
* Fishing
* Treks
* Geocaching
* Road trip to UAE or Salalah
* Cheap short tips anywhere in the region or even to Asia!

We are contemplating a quick trip to Abu Dhabi to go and visit friends and check out Ferrari World since my better half LOVES rides! I'm actually more interested in visiting Ikea, checking out some of the free events they showcase along the beach & corniche etc. Oh and maybe even bump into some celebs that are in town for the F1 Grand Prix events :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Oodles of Couch Surfers!

Given it is just the 2 of us living in a 3 bedroom villa, we figured we would offer our humble abode to others who are travelling through Muscat and looking for short-term accommodation. It is the least we can do because let's face it, we aren't spoilt for choice when it comes to hostels or backpacker accommodation in Muscat. Sure, there are more than enough places to camp...dodgy establishments & cheap hotels etc, but it isn't all that great and can get old REALLY fast!

Having backpacked through Europe ourselves, we know what it is like to be on a budget but also wanting to meet some nice people who can give you the inside tips & hints on what to do. Oh, and a nice warm shower, home cooked meal, glass of wine and a place to do your laundry helps!

So as a result, we currently have a full house with 3 new additions - an Austrian couple who are funky, fabulous and fancy-free! They are seriously refreshing, have some amazing stories and cooked us an outstanding meal last night! We have hosted them for the past few days and will continue to do so until their Indian visa comes through. We also had a French lass join us late last night and she is lovely, most likely staying with us for a week (and today is her birthday!).

It has been really nice to meet people who are so down-to-earth and keen to travel.
Who knows, maybe we will head off somewhere for Eid and Couch Surf for the first time?

So check out the site if you are interested in hosting, being a couch surfer, or meeting up with other like-minded people in Oman for a coffee, chat, trekking or camping.



Hidy Ho all,

It has been a while and a lot has happened since my last post. Namely:

Bali = massages. pedicures. husband's with outrageous facial hair. games of euchre. tequila. wild dogs. gin. sun. a wedding. great people. rain. more sun. awesome villa. bali belly. bop it. grocer & grind. kudeta cocktails. hens night (FAIL). hens night shennanigans. bintang!

Perth = girls afternoon tea. hangover. AFL grand final #2. engagement party. family. vino. great weather. great friends. coffee & breakfasts by the beach. enjoying a run in the middle of the day. wearing shorts above the knee. Perth Zoo. Witches Cauldron. Ecco gourmet pizza. niece & nephew cuddles. Family dinners. shopping. packing. busy!

So here we are, back in Muscat and there is a lot going on. Sports and work are in full swing, we have joined the world of Couch Surfing and are currently hosting 3 fabulous people now (see next post), and the weather is cooling down a little - with today being a 'balmy' 37 degrees!!!

More updates to come, thanks for your patience...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Moving on Up...

Since we are in the process of packing & moving, this is for your viewing/listening pleasure.

If you haven't seen this show or heard this theme song before, you must be too young or live under a rock!

You are welcome :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Something in the water...

Ramadan Kareem everyone!

I have a happy but heavy heart this much going on in my extended family & friends' lives at the moment and its bitter sweet to be in such a good personal head space, but so far away from a lot of them when they are experiencing such defining moments.

From pregnancies to christenings, break-ups without make ups, stresses of building & moving into a new house, surgeries, new jobs and missing out on my niece & nephews special times - it can be hard, but also makes you seek perspective and appreciate all over again how blessed we are.

I wanted to share a quote that I saw on a friend's FB status earlier today.

"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be...for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances"

And so we send blessings across the seas to those people who need it most, as well as those that don't know they need it yet.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Limp handshakes

I don't know why I haven't written about this sooner! I had a meeting this morning and was pleasantly greeted by a Consultant possessing a firm & friendly handshake, which totally took me by surprise and made me happy! It wasn't "me caveman" kida strong, just FIRM and I liked it...probably a little TOO much given I felt compelled to blog about it.

It might sound trivial and strange, but this isn't something we experience much here (it preturbs Duma more so than I) given most men simply don't shake hands with women, even if we extend our hands. Its cultural and understandable. But Duma feels awkward when going to client meetings and other men shake his fingers or extend a soft hand - he reckons it feels like they are caressing or tickling his palms lol!

So...what of the soft-handedness??? It was one of the things Duma and I first observed having moved to Oman and starting work, because it is common practice. Whilst I expect this from the women, in our part of the world a man with a limp handshake is often linked to a weak character or perhaps someone lacking confidence (I'm not even going to go where some people will go, in reference to sexual orientation).

Now, this isn't to accuse men who exhibit any of the above behaviours as being weak or unconfident, but it does FEEL a little disturbing...or is it just us?

I will say that one thing I really like about people here is that Omani women greet by shaking hands & Indians (male & female) head wobble. I still get tickled with the head wobbling and bobbing :)

So some women kiss cheeks (I'm comfortable with this level of PDA) if they haven't seen each other in a while...BUT the nicest thing I have observed is that when they ask how you are, they REALLY want to know how you (and your family / village / pets etc) are!!! It isn't like back home where you pass someone and they ask "Hi, how are you?" while continuing on their way and not even stopping for the answer. People here actually care about your response, hang on your every word and ask more than once regarding how you are. And while a conversation or simple greeting can feel like it takes 10 minutes - it's refreshing, its genuine and its sincere.

And that's my 2c for today.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

For the traveller in you...

Duma & I came across the COUCH SURFING concept when we were preparing to backpack around Europe. Now, it sounds good in theory(especially if you are young & broke) and thank God there are A LOT of helpful, friendly & hospitable people out there. There are also a lot of crazies, but we won't talk about them right now!

If you have ever stayed in a hostel you will know that sometimes you just want to rest your weary head somewhere other than a bunkbed that is the size of a baby's cot...or shower in a space where you can raise your arms and do the chicken wing dance (you are doing it right now, aren't you?) as you clean those much needed areas ...OR do a #1 or #2's where your knees aren't hitting the wall in front of you and the walls aren't so thin....y'all know what I'm talking about!!!

SO - over the weekend and in my delirium I came across the couch surfing community in Oman. I still don't know how I got there, but I remember thinking "No way - I didn't realise there were so many travellers who spin the globe and randomly select Oman as a destination for backpacking". But I guess with the UAE, India and Sri Lanka, Africa and Egypt so close...why wouldn't you?

I was also spun out by how many people here welcome strangers into their home and show them around. Kudos to you!

Here are some stats if you are interested.

So the question(s) remain:
* Have you / would you couch surf?
* Would you let a surfer crash on your couch?
* Would you be interested in playing a local guide?